The Buick Encore is perfect for tight spaces and crowded streets. My wife called this little crossover “adorable.” Encore is nimble as a west Texas quarter horse with the luxury of an ocean liner and down-right good looking.
Good looks as in a waterfall grille, ice blue accented projector beam headlamps with chrome portholes, which provide superb peripheral vision and a well-lit interior. Yet Buick has kept the traditional-style historic curves. Large 18-inch aluminum wheels are standard, but there are other optional chrome wheels.
On the mechanical side is a 1.4L DOHC 4-cylinder Ecotec turbo engine mated to a HydraMatic 6T40 6-speed automatic transmission. The engine produces 138 horsepower and 148 lb.-ft. of torque. EPA fuel economy is 25 mpg city and 33 mpg highway. A full tank holds 14 gallons.
Inside, the Encore has been designed to create a sense of enjoyment by bestowing a lively environment and spacious interior.
The instrument panel sits low and away, which adds to that openness just referred to. The steering column (tilt and telescopic) is leather wrapped, which goes well with soft-to-the-touch materials, and standard-appointed heated front seats that add to the comfort.
The Encore comes in nine luxurious colors: eight metallic colors such as Ruby Red, Brilliant Blue, Quicksilver, and Carbon Black, plus White Pearl Tricoat.
While outside colors are truly beautiful, inside colors are inspiring as well. Ebony with ebony wood tones looks all-business and perfectly balanced. Saddle with cocoa accent, and medium titanium with ebony accent are the two other colors of choice.
The Buick Encore has a superb government 5-Star Safety Rating: frontal crash for driver and passenger, and side crash front seat and rear seat. Overall vehicle score is 4-Star as is the roll-over rating in a single vehicle crash.
The Encore is built with QuietTuning technology that blocks and absorbs outside noise. A laminated windshield, triple door seals, and tight body panels tolerance make it possible. On top of that, Bose Active Noise Cancellation is a standard feature. Unwanted sounds fade into the background. All this quietness helps you enjoy SiriusXM satellite radio as well as music streaming and voice calls, with a Bluetooth connected smartphone, through the Bose Premium Audio System.
The infotainment system has IntelliLink, navigation, and AM/FM/SiriusXM satellite radio on a 7-inch diagonal screen. This adds another $800 to the $28,190 standard vehicle price.
IntelliLink is a voice-activated control and peripheral connectivity for the infotainment system. It allows you to control the major functions with your voice or steering-wheel mounted controls. It also has a USB port and Bluetooth connectivity for USB drives, external media players, and compatible smartphones. With a smartphone connected, IntelliLink allows hands-free calls and audio streaming, as well as access to audio apps such as Stitcher SmartRadio.
The most enjoyable feature for me was the roominess. Encore seats five passengers comfortably and transforms seating into plenty of cargo space. The front passenger and second row seats fold down flat. Just flip the second row seats down and nearly 50 cubic feet are yours to play with. Even with the seats up, you have almost 20 cubic feet of room.
Safety and security are keywords with Buick, and features like StabiliTrak stability control, Forward Collision Alert, Lane Departure Warning, and tire pressure monitor are all standard.
The Encore is cozy and comfortable with most items strategically located. However the numbers on the digital clock, located on the information screen, are much too small. The clock would be more useable if relocated to the center part of the console, enlarged, and allowed to stand alone.
Near the driver’s seat there is a small closed compartment and a single open compartment for small storage items. They were perfect. There is additional storage space located inside both front doors for bottled water and paper items.
Encore handles smoothly on the straightaway and corners easily in the curve. Its numerous handsome features made it a delight to drive and easy to recommend.
Overall length: 168.4
Body width: 69.9
Overall height with luggage rails: 65.2
Headroom, first row: 39.6
Headroom, second row: 38.8
Durhl Caussey writes a car column read around the world. He may be reached at this paper or firstname.lastname@example.org